Winter lasagne with spinach, shiitakes, and fromage fort

April 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm (French, My brain, Necessarily nonvegan, Pasta, Starches, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

Derek rented a car this weekend (to see Chick Corea in Luxembourg), and so we decided to check out the Cora across the border in Forbach, France.  It was enormous and packed, and (strangely) I heard tons of people speaking American English.  Why were there so many Americans in Forbach?   Could they be coming all the way from the military base in Kaiserslautern just to shop in France?   We explored the store a bit, but didn’t find much of interest.  Derek got some cheap Leffe Belgian beer, and picked out a few cheeses.  It turned out, however, that most of the cheeses were not very good.  He wanted to toss them but I hated to throw them away.  I found Alton Brown’s recipe for “fromage fort” online, and made it with half of the (quite sour) Little Billy goat cheese and half of a (quite stinky and sharp) Camembert.   I added quite a bit more garlic and parsley than the recipe calls for.  After pureeing everything together the cheese was more like a cheese sauce than something you could spread on crackers.  It tasted a little odd, but not bad.  Kind of like a very strong, stinky Boursin.  I decided to use it in a lasagne. 

I brought a large pot of water to a boil.  While I was waiting I sauteed up some shiitake mushrooms (about 500 grams) with a little white wine and soy sauce.  I cooked 8 whole wheat lasagne noodles for a few minutes until they had started to soften, then turned off the burner and let the noodles sit in the hot water.  I covered the bottom of a 8×8 pyrex pan with some of the fromage fort sauce, laid down two noodles, and put down a layer of shiitake mushrooms and sauce.  Next I used the empty pan to gently cook some baby spinach leaves (about 1 pound).  In the pan I laid down another layer of noodles, the spinach, and some more sauce.  I topped the lasagne with two more noodles and the rest of the sauce.  Then I realized that I still had two more cooked noodles in the pot!  I layered them on top and tried to moisten them with the last bit of cheese sauce I could scrape from the pan.  I popped the whole thing in a 400 degree oven and promptly forgot about it… until I smelled something browning and realized that the top layer of uncovered noodles were getting very brown and crisp.  I took the lasagne out and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes.  The noodles were fully cooked but the lasagna didn’t set up that well.  The fromage fort sauce was no longer white and creamy.  It had separated into somewhat grainy curds and a layer of oil.  The lasagne was very rich and salty though, and tasted good.  Derek said it tasted very garlicky.  Luckily we both like garlic!

I’ll definitely use this fromage fort recipe again next time I want to get rid of some cheese.  I’d like to use it in a lasagne as well, but I wonder how I can get the sauce to stay emulsified?  Maybe add an egg yolk to the cheese sauce, or some mustard, or both?  Also, I’d like another layer of vegetables between the top two noodles.  But what would go well with spinach and mushrooms?  Tomato sauce?  That seems a bit odd with the stinky fromage fort sauce, but maybe it would work.

1 Comment

  1. A lasagna for every season « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] lasagne with homemade tomato sauce.  Veggies are spinach and mushrooms.  Herb is basil.  Or: Spinach and shiitake lasagne with fromage fort.  Veggies are spinach and shiitake mushrooms.  Herb is parsley. The labeling of seasons […]

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